Dolphins exercise fifth-year option on DT Christian Wilkins – The Mercury News

The Miami Dolphins don’t have a first-round pick in the NFL draft that begins Thursday, but they secured their first-rounder from three years ago to remain with the team through Year 5.

The Dolphins are exercising the fifth-year option for defensive lineman Christian Wilkins, according to a league source on Thursday morning.

The move, which had a Monday deadline to execute, likely assures the Dolphins will have their 2019 first-round pick in Miami through the 2023 season while they can still continue to work on a multi-year extension with Wilkins.

It was a decision, which was first reported by NFL Network, that Dolphins general manager Chris Grier indicated was likely when he touched on the subject at the NFL Scouting Combine in March.

“He had a heck of a year last year,” said Grier when asked about the chances of picking up Wilkins’ fifth-year option. “I would say most likely, but we’ll make that decision when we get to that.”

In his third NFL season, Wilkins tied for the league lead in tackles among defensive linemen. His 89 tackles tied Pittsburgh’s Cameron Heyward for most last season, which was the highest mark for any down lineman since 2013. Ten of those tackles for Wilkins went for a loss.

Wilkins, starting every game, also reached new heights in his pass rush in 2021 with a career-high 4 ½ sacks, adding 13 quarterback hits, four pass deflections, a forced fumble and fumble recovery — and that’s not to mention his touchdown reception with an epic celebration that followed in the December win over the New York Jets.

The fifth-year option guarantees the former Clemson standout $10,069,000 in 2023, a figure that is based on his playing time the past three years and the average salary of the third through 20th highest-paid defensive tackles.

A multi-year deal for Wilkins, who is slated to make $2.6 million in 2022, would likely earn him an annual salary in the $10-13 million range. The fifth-year option, which is only available for first-round picks, gives the Dolphins an extra season to get a deal done, but a multi-year extension would be more cap friendly.

Wilkins figures to be a key cog in a Dolphins defense that anchored the team’s run of winning eight of its last nine games in 2021. Miami returns all its starters and most of its contributors from last year’s team. The Dolphins re-signed defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah, reached a lucrative extension with cornerback Xavien Howard and brought back a slew of linebackers — Elandon Roberts among them — to achieve that defensive continuity.


Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles